IBM’s is adding innovation to offline retail. The software giant is building a smart mirror technology to aid the vast offline retail sector. To begin with, IBM is collaborating with Vero Moda, and at the success of the project, will expand its technology for other offline retailers.
The technology per se is a digital interface, powered by Artificial Intelligence that provides recommendations and suggestions to customers shopping in a brick-and-mortar store. The idea behind the technology is for customers to use these ‘mirrors’ as virtual fitting rooms. Upon, trying out a store’s inventory, the mirror smartly suggests, provides feedback and compliments a customer on his/her shopping choices.
This modern AI machine will also be very helpful for stores to understand the popularity of their merchandise. IBM intends that through the mirror, store owners can have lucidity about why an item is selling more than the others. This has become all the more important because as per a recent report 50% of the merchandise in stores is marked down.
Kamal Singhani, Managing Partner, IBM India division said, “IBM aims to drive more footfalls towards sales through the technology. In order to do so, we will analyze multiple sources and predict future trends for customers. He believes the technology will be the difference between new-age customers and offline retailers.”
Obviously, for the offline retail sector, this is bound to create a buzz. Usually, an industry that has seen itself sitting in the backburner when it comes to tailor-made software, this product seems promisingly consolidating. But will it truly help? Nowadays, the trend has increasingly shifted to e-commerce more than physical stores, Reduced pricing, major discounts and a lot of variety is making the e-tailer stronger than brick-and-mortar. Global behemoths like Amazon are always on the front-foot for aggressive strategy. A lot of major e-commerce players today have their own ancillary companies that retail everything from the most inexpensive to exotic commodities. This all adds up! As per a recent report, the e-commerce industry will grow by 29 percent in the next five years. Hence, can IBM’s smart mirror boost the offline retail industry?